Oroville Dam

#1 Drive Over the Nation’s Tallest Dam

Completed in 1968, it stands 770 feet high and is 6,920 feet across the top. It is the tallest and one of the largest earthen dams in the USA. Tailings from the gold dredging era make up most of the material used in construction.

A picnic area overlooks the dam & has restroom facilities. The dam area is also a favorite of local swimmers. Lake Oroville Marina has endless opportunities to enjoy the uncrowded atmosphere available at Lake Oroville.

Lk-OroPonderosa-RdBeneath the dam, a cavern almost as large as the state capitol building has been hollowed out to house six power generation units. Coupled with four units in the Thermalito Power Plant, they generate more than 2.8 billion kilowatt-hours of power annually. Tours are available by appointment only. Please call 530.534-2306 for more information.

Lake Oroville, which the dam created, has a surface area of 24 square miles and a shoreline of 167 miles, including many waterfalls in the Spring.


#2 Walk Across California’s First Suspension Bridge

Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge

In 1856, a suspension bridge was swung across the Feather River at Bidwell Bar, site of the county’s first gold mining community. It’s towers, manufactured in New York and brought around the Horn, the bridge was the first of it’s type in California and was closed to traffic in 1954.

Prior to the construction of Oroville Dam, the bridge was dismantled and relocated in Bidwell Canyon. The first Saturday of every May, the Bidwell Bar Day celebration is held here featuring demonstrations of pioneer crafts, gold panning, food and entertainment. The Toll House Museum there is open on Saturdays during the summer.

South End of Lake Oroville in Bidwell Canyon off Kelly Ridge Road 530-538-2219


#3 Get the Big Picture

Lake Oroville Visitor’s Center

This is a great source for just about any kind of information you want about the area. The center, a joint venture between California’s Dept. of Parks & Recreation and the Dept. of Water Resources, has exhibitions which cover the history of the California water projects from the early Spanish-built dams to the dams of today, Maidu Indian culture, and local wildlife.

More than forty videos are available for viewing upon request. Brochures on all area attractions are available as well as maps of hiking and horse trails.

Be sure to climb the 47-foot high viewing tower for spectacular views of the lake, mountains, and valley.

North End of Kelly Ridge Road
Off Olive Hwy (Hwy 162)
Lake Oroville Visitor Center
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s Day


#5 Want Wind or Speed?

North & South Forebays

Reserved for non-motorized use only, the North Forebay is a sailor’s ream come true. Ranked as the best sailing and windsurfing north of the Bay Area, these waters and winds are delightful. The spot is also popular with those who prefer to canoe, swim, or just relax in the sun. A 200-yard sandy swimming beach has men’s and women’s dressing rooms, drinking water, and a special feature — shade trees that keep the sun off of your picnic table and you. A 15-space RV campsite and restrooms are also found at the North Forebay.

In addition to the North Forebay, there is a 7,000 sq. ft. aquatic center on site. The Forebay Aquatic Center is a collaborative effort between the Department of Boating and Waterways, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Chico Rowing Club. The center provides boat rentals, such as kayaks (both single and double), pedal boats, hydro bikes, canoes, and sailboats. In addition to the rentals, the center offers courses in sailing, sit-on-top kayaking, sea kayaking, canoeing, wakeboarding, rowing, and aquatic camps for youths ages 8-16. The Aquatic Center is open Wed. through Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The South Forebay is the spot for speed competitions. Jet ski, speedboat, and hydroplaners all come here to show what they’re made of. The water action is exciting, and there’s a new swimming beach, a picnic area, and a fish cleaning station, as well as new shade trees.

West of Hwy. 70, north of Oroville
(Garden Drive Exit)
Classes: 624-6919;

Pioneer Museum

#6 Catch the 49er Spirit

Built by the Native Sons & Daughters of the Golden West and operated by the City of Oroville, this museum was built in 1932 as a replica of a 49er cabin. The original building has been enlarged to now hold 6,000 sq. ft. of historic treasures. Antique pianos, the original Oregon City School organ, a grand old clock from Bidwell Bar, an extensive hat collection (including an 1849 bonnet worn by a wagontrainer), beautifully elaborate women’s fans, antique dolls (including a doll from the Donner Party), a miner’s vest tailored to hold different size nuggets, and a handmade gold needle are just part of the holdings of the first room.

The Indian artifact display contains one of the largest arrowhead and basket collections in the area, and the Chinese exhibit features a rare tear jar.

One area is devoted to the life of Florence Danforth Boyle, the museum’s founder and Butte County Recorder in 1918. It will give you the 49er spirit!


To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 107.

Pioneer Museum
2332 Montgomery Street
(530) 538-2497
Open: Fri-Sat-Sun. Noon-4p.m.
Closed: Dec. 15-Jan. 31
Admission: $2 Adults ($1.50/each for groups with 15 or more), children under 12 free


#7 Relive a Love Story

Lott Home 2009 011

C.F. Lott Home in Sank Park

A Victorian revival style structure, the C.F. Lott Home built in 1856 serves as a cultural repository for decorative art objects which are typical of the homes of Oroville’s pioneer families. The collection includes antique furnishings, paintings, rugs, textiles, clothes, silver, and glassware of the period 1849-1910. The tour retells a love story, including the surprise built into the fireplace.

The garden contains a profusion of flowers, including an outstanding hybrid rose area, and the park contains a lovely gazebo as well as many trees that show autumn color. Don’t miss the carriage house with Jess and Cornelia’s 1922 Buick. Portions of the property may be reserved for weddings and other private functions.

101To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 101.

1067 Montgomery Street
(530) 538-2497 or (530) 538-2415
Home Hours: Sun-Mon & Fri. 11:30-3:30
Closed: Dec. 15-Jan. 31
Admission: Adults $3, Children under 12 free
Park Hours: Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun 9-8:30


#8 Know Another Culture

Oroville Chinese Temple & Garden

Built in 1863 to serve a community of 10,000 Chinese, this temple of treasures is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and also as a California Landmark. It was first opened to visitors during California’s 1949 Centennial.

It includes three chapels, with the main chapel, Liet Sheng Kong, serving as a place of worship for Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

In 1968, Tapestry Hall was added to display the extensive collection of embroidered tapestries, parade parasols, and other objects of beauty. A priceless collection of Chinese and American costumes is arranged to contrast the two cultures by decades from 1850 to 1930. Also see the rare threedimensional puppets from the Oroville Chinese Opera Theatre.

102Visitors won’t want to miss the garden, which is designed as a place for meditation and reflection and has plantings that originated in China; each is a symbol for a Taoist idea. The temple and garden are maintained by the Oroville Parks Department. To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 102.

Oroville Chinese Temple & Garden
1500 Broderick St., 530-538-2496
Hours: Daily, Noon-4
Closed December 15-January 31
Admission: Adults $3, Children under 12 free, Tour groups and special rates

Shops Along The State Theatre

#9 Songs Dances & More

Historic State Theatre of Oroville

Dedicated in 1928, this theater has featured great vaudeville acts, fine films, and multiple live music, dance, and drama performances. The theater was designed by Timothy L. Pflueger and J.R. Miller, who also created the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building in San Francisco.

The State was restored to much of its original grandeur in the late 1980s with additional restoration projects being completed every few years. The theatre now has an outstanding lineup each season of national touring companies as well as local groups presenting music, dance, comedy, and drama.

To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 106.

Historic State Theatre of Oroville
At Myers & Robinson
Tickets: (530) 538-2415
Box Office Information Recording: (530) 538-2470
See more

Ehmann Home

#10 See the House that Olives Built

Ehmann Home

Freda Ehmann, “Mother of the Ripe Olive Industry,” and her son, Edwin, built this Colonial Revival Craftsman home in 1911 after she’d perfected a curing process for ripe olives and had markets across the nation. Edwin served as mayor here from 1919-23.

Open for tours by appointment and on Saturdays from 11-3, the home features lovely wainscoting, hardwood floors, fireplaces, intricate stained glass windows, and antique furniture including a Chickering piano that came around the Horn. The home is available for weddings & other events.

BCHS Museum houses Ishi’s jailcell door, early gold scales, photographs, an amazingly detailed dollhouse, an Erle Stanley Gardner exhibit and many videos. BCHS hosts annual “Ishi Days” each May.

Research assistance and sale of books, Diggin’s (BCHS’ quarterly publication), and Ehmann olives are offered at the Archives.

Gifts are offered in all three venues, Main and 5th Streets.


To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 105.

Ehmann Home
Lincoln at Robinson,
(530) 877-7436, (530) 533-5316
Open for tours Saturdays, 11-3

Butte County Historical Society Museum
1749 Spencer Ave.
(530) 533-9418,
Open: Fri. 9-12, Sat. 11-3

Butte County Historical Society Archives
2335 Baldwin Ave.
(530) 533-9418,
Open: Thurs.-Fri., 9-Noon